Diocesan News

Winners announced in recent pro-life student video contest

Register awards scholarship funds toward March for Life

LINCOLN (SNR) – The Southern Nebraska Register announced the winners of its pro-life contest Oct. 28.

In September, the diocesan newspaper and communications office announced the contest for any high school student in the diocese who could film and make short videos. The creators of the two winning videos will receive two half-scholarships (worth about $190) to join the diocesan trip to the March for Life in Washington D.C. in January 2015. On that trip, the two winning students will serve as production assistants for a Lincoln Diocese March for Live video.

The criteria for the contest were to create a video demonstrating basic filming and producing skills, and include a live event, an interview, and a common theme.

The video contest is the first of its kind for the Diocese, and was arranged by Father Andrew Heaslip, named the diocesan digital media coordinator in June.

“Part of being pro-life is sharing our message with others in a creative and joyful way,” he said. “This video contest offered a new way for our high schoolers to do just that.”

He added that the Register staff had a difficult task in choosing the top two videos.

One of the winning entries was created and submitted by a team of two juniors from St. Cecilia High School in Hastings: 16-year-old Claire Theisen, and 17-year-old Megan O’Grady. Both girls attend St. Michael Parish in Hastings and will split the first half-scholarship. Their video from the Hastings Life Chain included interviews with pastor Father Thomas Walsh and assistant pastor Father Adam Sughroue, as well as many participants.


The second winning entry was created by 16-year-old Laura Vyvlecka, and a member of Prince of Peace Parish in Kearney.  In her video entitled “Adoption,” she shared two families’ adoption experiences, and included footage from a fundraising event to assist a family with their adoption.

Theisen said she learned about the video contest through the active “Teens for Life” group at St. Cecilia High School.

“I decided to enter the video because I love standing for life,” she said, “and I want to do anything that is possible to show I support life and to show how important life is to me.”

Two other productions earned recognition from the Register for their similar convictions and were named among the four finalists for the March for Life scholarships.

“Chunmiao Little Flower Pro-Life Video,” was submitted by Laura Vyvlecka’s 15-year-old sister Elizabeth, also from Prince of Peace Parish in Kearney.  She detailed the lessons she learned during a trip this summer to the Chunmiao Little Flower in Bejing, China. The organization cares for abandoned children in China, including those with complex medical needs.


Another entry was created by a team. Chloe Kreikemeier, 18, a senior at Pius X High School in Lincoln and a member of St. Teresa Parish, read about the contest in the Register and invited a friend to participate with her: Scott Nemec, a 17-year-old senior at Aquinas High School in David City, and a member of St. Wenceslaus Parish in Bee. Their video, “We are the Pro Life Generation,” included footage from students at Pius X High School in Lincoln, Lourdes High School in Nebraska City and Bishop Neumann High School in Wahoo, as well as students from the UNL Newman Center. Sister Ann Marie Zierke, who teaches at Aquinas High School in David City, was interviewed in the video.


“We both have a passion for being pro-life,” Kreikemeier said, “and we wanted to share that passion with others through media.

“When I went to Steubenville in 2013,” she continued, “the bishop giving the homily said, ‘You are not the future of the church. You are the Church.’ This influenced me on the topic of our generation and how we can make a change for the good. Over a third of our generation was lost to … abortion so it’s our job to be their voice and speak up against this injustice.”
Theisen reiterated the belief that young people can make a difference.

“Everyone is made equally in the image and likeness of God,” she said. “No one is less important than another person.”

Father Heaslip said this courage and passion are just what the diocese hoped to capture in the contest.

“The students who made these pro-life videos show us that God continually works through a new generation, in new ways,” he said. “When young people use their creativity and media skills for good, it is a grace and inspiration for us all.”
The students agreed.

“Faith related videos can inspire youth,” Kreikemeier said, and see them “have a change of heart or a greater passion for what the video is about.

“In a generation where social media is so prevalent, a faith-related video provides some good, wholesome entertainment,” she added.

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